I completely missed the DA train when I was kid, so I ended up making a page right after college--but I ended up ignoring it because it was so clunky and slow to use. The update they did works better, but it's still kind of weird. At least my images look nice and crisp, which I can't say for Twitter or Tumblr, who compress my images to Hell (the twitter compression, especially, is borderline illegal, I hate it)
But, since yesterday a bunch of artists were updating their portfolios on DA, it's like, I might as well do that, too. I was watching this one talk from an Art Director a few years back who said that artists have to keep all their portfolio sites up to date, and she included Deviant Art in that list of sites and I felt SUPER called out by it. So, while it doesn't feel professional--because it's DA, professional Art Directors may actually see your stuff on there. At least one is looking.
As for the drama? I was never involved in it because I think I was too old to get involved in it at the time. That and I don't have many followers so I'm not...worried about harassment ever. One plus-side to being a small artist.
But is it a replacement for twitter? No. Twitter still hasn't been a replacement for Tumblr, for me. Twitter gives me like no interaction (and this is about my main twitter and not my comic twitter which as a whopping 2 followers of myself and one friend). Art I make that gets over a thousand notes on Tumblr will get maybe 2 notes from my best buds on Twitter. It has been this sweet type of hellsite for me for about 9 years, despite how good I get and despite how much I improve. Twitter is an enigma. I have tried everything. I gave up on twitter like 4 years ago but I still use it every day because I want to keep up with my friends from High School.
Meanwhile, despite having no watchers and making my site in the wee hours of last night, the four pieces I posted to DA have received faves. DA has already exceeded my extremely low expectations. I really honestly think that whether or not you make it or don't make it on a particular platform is mostly luck, so I try not to take it personally. DA might work, it might not. Eh. You don't know till you try.